Image – Canva.
  • The top 20 were mostly in Victoria
  • Included a mix of both inner city and regional suburbs
  • Rental price movements were a mixed bag

The Australian rental market has been incredibly tight over the past year, albeit with some signs of easing in May.

Currently, the national vacancy rate, according to SQM, is 1.8%.

Australia-wide, 2005 – 2021

However, not every suburb is as tight as 1.8%.

Top 10 most vacant rental suburbs

Leading Australia with a vacancy rate of almost 28% is Middleton in South Australia.

The picturesque town of some 1,100 people is an hour south of Adelaide, and rents are quite affordable at $206 a week.

Beach at Middleton. Image – Alexandrina Council.

It is not just small townships and outer suburbs on the list.

One of Melbourne’s higher-end suburbs – Malvern East – came in at number 5 with a vacancy rate of 13.7%. The suburb is in the million-dollar club and currently has an average asking price of $1.48 million, according to SQM Research.

Rank Postcode Suburb Vacancy Rate Rent 1yr ago
1 5213 Middleton 27.9% $206 $180
2 3944 Portsea 23.8% $1,050 $825
3 5212 Port Elliot 15.3% $196 $199
4 4804 Springlands 15.3% $288 $262
5 3145 Malvern East 13.7% $556 $682
6 2762 Schofields 13.4% $595 $550
7 3003 West Melbourne 10.6% $516 $588
8 3125 Burwood 9.5% $498 $530
9 2108 Palm Beach 9.5% $1,185 $947
10 3168 Clayton 9.4% $450 $463

Source: SQM Research

The next 10

To some, it will be unsurprising to see the next ten most vacant rental suburbs are mainly in Melbourne. Melbourne’s had a tougher year than most, with lockdowns, and a drastic reduction in its international student population.

Not far from Melbourne’s CBD and home to the coolest street in the world, Collingwood has a vacancy rate of 2.5%, yet over in Carlton it’s 9.2%, and Sorrento (the place where Premier Andrews had a terrible fall earlier this year) is 8.3%.

Melbourne’s CBD itself has a rental vacancy rate of 8%.

Bringing up the rear for the top 20 is Macquarie Park. The high vacancy rate comes as no surprise since the suburb is home to Macquarie University, and international students are still not able to make their way back to Australia.

Macquarie Park is also home mostly to offices, Macquarie Centre, and a cemetery.

Curiously, Rookwood, a suburb mostly consisting of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest cemetery, had a vacancy rate that rose to 7.6% in June last year, it is now down at 5.6%.

Rank Postcode Suburb Vacancy Rate Rent 1yr ago
11 3053 Carlton 9.2% $613 $753
12 3943 Sorrento 8.3% $863 $785
13 3000 Melbourne CBD 8.0% $401 $519
14 3335 Rockbank 7.5% $394 $406
15 3008 Docklands 7.5% $502 $962
16 3122 Hawthorn 7.4% $650 $771
17 3006 Southbank 7.3% $573 $600
18 3051 North Melbourne 7.2% $618 $622
19 3892 Mallacoota 7.1% $0 $0
20 2113 Macquarie Park 7.1% $639 $607

Source: SQM Research

Looking for a place to stay in Sydney?

Earlier this month, The Property Tribune reported on the 10 Sydney suburbs with no vacancies, many were located far away from the CBD, and arguably weren’t really in Sydney at all.

For those desiring a piece of, albeit less affordable, Sydney CBD property, vacancy rates in the suburb of Sydney currently sits at 6.8%, ranked 25th highest vacancy rate in Australia according to SQM. Asking rent for the suburb is currently $961 per week.

Inner-Sydney (postcode 2000)

Honourable mention goes to Burwood for appearing twice. The first time is Burwood, Victoria, featuring as number 8 highest vacancy rate. Burwood, New South Wales also features, but ranked lower at 28. The suburb has a vacancy rate of 6.6%.


Source: SQM Research

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